What Iran’s high-stakes election means for voters and the world

Source: Reuters
by Amir Handjani

“On May 19, Iranians go to the polls to either re-elect President Hassan Rouhani to a second term or give one of his reactionary opponents a chance to govern, and in doing so ride the populist wave that seems to have engulfed much of the globe. Conventional wisdom in Washington is that Iran is a radical theocracy and its elections don’t matter because real power is in the hands of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and the Islamic Republic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), who answer only to him and not to the elected branches of the Iranian government. The truth is more complex: Elections in Iran are hugely significant in shaping Tehran’s foreign and domestic policy. Although they may be imperfect by Western standards, they are the only means through which the Iranian people can voice their support or criticism of unelected pillars of the deep state.” (05/18/17)